We will explain fishing methods which could affect the quality of caught tuna.

There are mainly five methods for tuna fishing. “Ipponzuri” (catching fish with fishing poles) in Oma, Aomori prefecture, you see a lot through the media, is well known. However, the fact is that Long line fishing method and Purse seine fishing method are the ones catching the most tuna. The rest is Fixed net fishing method and Hikiami (Seine fishing method).

<Long line fishing method>

To hang a long line (Mikinawa) in the sea, covered with about 3000 fishhooks attached to branch lines (Edanawa), aiming at a path of schooling tuna.

<Purse seine fishing method>

A large-scale method of fishing by encircling a school of tuna with a net. Although it is efficient, there is a demerit of lowering the quality of fish because they struggle while getting caught. In addition, other kinds of fish and immature fish can be caught without distinction and that leads to overfishing.

<Fixed net fishing method>

Tuna have a habit of migrating to the same ocean area at the same time each year. A coastal fishing method called Fixed net fishing consists of placing a net in the sea and wait for a school of tuna. The advantage of this method is to be able to capture the fish alive without causing any injury or damage.

<Ipponzuri (catching fish with fishing poles)>

This method has the longest history and uses a pole of 4 – 6 meters to fish from a boat. Using a machine that winds up lines automatically and also using human hands, pull up tuna that weighs more than 100kg and lastly catch it by piercing gills with a harpoon.

<Hikiami (Seine fishing method)>

To catch fish by towing a bag-shaped net from a boat.


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 20, 2018

What is tuna fattening?

Fish farming is to hatch fish from eggs or to raise from juvenile fish right after hatching. Imported fish farming tuna, which is out in the market now, is actually fish fattening tuna that is raised bigger by feeding to full-grown fish. Fish fattening is to catch tuna by fixed net fishing method when they are skinny after egg-laying, and to fatten by feeding wild fish such as sardine and mackerel for three months.


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Revision date: September 26, 2017

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Tsujiki wholesale fish market

We went to Tsujiki wholesale fish market today also, and actually got to enter at the time all food professionals are buying and selling.

The tuna auction begins at 5:00 am. Then about 6:30 am, intermediate wholesalers start lining up their winning bid tuna. Therefore, it is around the time when people like masters from sushi restaurants come to buy fish. Once professional deals settle down at 10:00 am, all the other visitors and foreign tourists are allowed to get in the market.

What exactly is the difference between on what is going on before and after 10:00 am? That is how determined sellers and buyers are. It is entirely full of sprit because it is a place for exchanging valuable information.

This is one situation I saw how they interact. As they talk about how Tuna, air transported from Boston, is fatty but doesn’t have any flavor of Tuna compared to the inshore ones, they let me try a piece. The one from inshore definitely tastes more as Tuna for sure.

“I’ll take about a 20cm width of the belly, around this part of the inshore one.”

“That will be around 4.3kg?”

Pro talk, isn’t it?


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Revision date: August 15, 2017

Why is Zuke used for lean meat?

Zuke is one of the traditional Edo-style sushi methods. It is said that it was started in the Edo period to stop tuna from rotting when there were large amounts of the fish in the market. Now that there has been advances in refrigeration technology, it’s no longer necessary, but maturing the fish gives it a completely different taste and brings out its umami. Zuke is divided into two broad methods. Here we describe the characteristics of each.

Recently, most sushi restaurants incorporate the “Single Zuke”.

Each slice of tuna is soaked separately, so it can mature quickly. The immersion time is only a few minutes. The idea is to marinate just enough so that the tuna’s aroma remains and the soy sauce doesn’t overtake it.

On the other hand, the old Edo-style method is to perform Zuke after parboiling.

Parboiling means to wrap the fish in a wet cloth, and poor boiling water on the wrapping until the color of the tuna changes color, then turn the fish over and repeat the process. The fish is then put in ice water so the heat doesn’t go too deep in the meat. It is immediately removed once it cools so that it doesn’t get too watery. The tuna is then put in Zuke soy sauce and left to marinate for about half a day. In this method, the soy sauce only soaks into the surface part where the color changed from the parboiling, so the flavor of the tuna remains.

Both methods keep the maximum tuna flavor possible. Tuna is an essential part of Edo-style sushi. There is great diversity between sushi restaurants in the parts, marinating time and flavor of Zuke, which creates a new, original flavor when the lean meat of the tuna soaks up the soy sauce. The fattiest cuts of tuna are most popular. The lean meat has only become more popular due to a rekindled interest in zuke, but in fact during the peak of the bubble economy, there was a time when high-end restaurants in Ginza didn’t know what to do with all their leftover lean tuna meat. It’s almost unbelievable to think of it now.


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: August 1, 2017

What are “ikejime” and “nojime”?

How the fish is butchered also changes the taste. If the fish suffers and struggles, the body wears and may be damaged, circulating oxidized blood throughout the body, which makes it lose flavor. For fish of high value such as sea bream, flounder, yellowtail, rudderfish and tuna, a method called “ikejime” is used.

The taste of tuna is said to be determined based on the preparations after being caught. The tuna is caught with as little suffering as possible and the nerves are killed immediately for an instant death. Generally, blood is then drained perfectly, entrails and gills are removed, the tail cut off and then the fish is placed in ice-water to lower the body temperature.

The medulla oblongata and main artery of the fish are cut and a kitchen knife is inserted into the base of the tail to drain the blood. A thin metal rod is inserted into the backbone to paralyze the nerves and at the same time controls the putrefied materials that come out of the spinal cord.

This extends the time until rigor mortis sets in, making it easier to maintain freshness and simultaneously preventing blood from circulating in the body, which also prevents the fishy smell.

Freezing the fish to death in ice water is called “nojime”. This method is generally used for small fish such as sardines, horse mackerel and mackerel that are fished in large volume.

 

 

At fish markets, the term “kill” is not used for living fish, instead the word “shimeru” meaning to close or tighten. The term “dead fish” is also not used. Instead the term “nojime” is used for fish that died naturally en route to the market. This stems from the awe of precious life and turning that life into food.


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 27, 2018